Laurel Park celebrates solid weekend wagering

by | Sep 12, 2016 | Breaking, Business, Maryland, MD Business, MD Racing, Racing

Caribou Club and Ashley Castrenze narrowly prevailed in Saturday’s Laurel Futurity. Photo by The Racing Biz.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

The opening weekend of Laurel Park’s fall meet was a success with a 50-percent increase over last year’s opening weekend while racing an additional day.

Total handle on Laurel’s three-day opening weekend was nearly $7 million, compared to last year’s two-day opening of $3.5 million. Laurel’s Saturday program included six stakes and $525,000 in stakes purses.

Racing continued Sunday and was highlighted when jockey Trevor McCarthy guided Non Stop Stable’s Elusive Joni through an opening on the rail in mid-stretch and pulled away to win the featured ninth race at Laurel Park.

The $45,000 optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and older was the third win this year over older horses for the sophomore daughter of Colonel John, who ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:01.24 on a firm All Along Turf Course.

“You never know on the turf. I told Trevor to just try and get a good trip. That’s the big thing,” trainer Gary Capuano said. “We knew she could compete in here, at least we thought she could move up. She got a great trip and everything worked out. She’s a nice filly.”

Class Edge and Deliver Me battled on the lead through a quarter-mile in 22.31 seconds and a half in 45.04 with Elusive Joni tucked in along the rail. Class Edge drifted out while still in front after turning for home, allowing McCarthy the time and space to shoot through and assume the lead, sprinting clear to win by three lengths.

For Finery rallied to finish second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of Class Edge, who held off Hug a Tree by a head for third. Rkaya, the 9-5 favorite in her North American debut making her first start in 13 months, broke slowly but moved into contention between horses on the turn before flattening out and finished seventh.

Elusive Joni ($6) now has three wins and two seconds in five starts since returning from a 5 ½-month layoff in mid-June and being moved to the grass on the advice of McCarthy, who has been aboard for each of her turf victories.

“I hate to admit it, but I’ve got to give Trevor that. Trevor came and worked her one morning, and she works great on the dirt. He said, ‘Did you ever try this filly on the turf?’” Capuano said. “Everything just kind of worked out right. I had planned on running her in a dirt race and he said try her on the turf, the race came up and I stuck her in it and she won. She’s just been great ever since.”